What we're watching: Streaking Rockies face Dodgers

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– Adam Wainwright can become the first National League to reach 15 wins, but to get there, he’ll have to outpitch Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is 12-7 with a 2.89 ERA that ranks seventh in the NL.  Wainwright is fifth at 2.61.  Oddly enough, Rodriguez is 3-7 against the Cardinals in his career, even though he’s limited Albert Pujols to a .120 average and no extra-base hits or RBI in 25 at-bats.

 

– After No. 7 takes on No. 5 in St. Louis, No. 6 and No. 3 will duel in San Francisco.  Arizona‘s Dan Haren was the NL’s most effective pitcher in the first half, but he’s 3-3 with a 4.91 ERA since the break, dropping him behind five pitchers.  Cain currently has a 2.4305 ERA, while teammate Lincecum is at 2.4281.  Both are trailing Chris Carpenter at 2.16.

 

– 25-year-old right-hander Armando Gabino will make his major league debut for the Twins tonight after going 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA, 65 H and 55/22 K/BB in 86 IP for Triple-A Rochester.  A reliever for most of the year, he had made just five starts — and one of those was an abbreviated three-inning outing Friday to put him in line to pitch tonight.  Gabino throws in the low-90s consistently as a reliever and has displayed an improved changeup this year.  He’s a long shot to last as a starting pitcher, but he’s proven to be a nice find for a guy originally picked up in the minor league Rule 5 draft.

 

Game of the Night

 

Los Angeles vs. Colorado – With the NL West gap down to three games after the Rockies’ walkoff grand slam against the Giants last night, the Dodgers travel to Colorado to begin a three-game series tonight.  The Dodgers would seem to have the right pitcher on the mound in Clayton Kershaw, but they’ve actually lost each of the left-hander’s last six starts, even though he has allowed just 11 runs during the span.  Plus, Kershaw is 2-3 with a 6.07 ERA against Colorado in his career.  The Rockies will throw Jason Hammel, who like Kershaw, is 8-7 on the season.  It will be a rematch of a July 1 game which the Dodgers won 1-0, leaving Hammel with a complete-game loss.  The difference is that tonight’s contest will be in Coors Field, where Hammel is 2-3 with a 7.02 ERA this season.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.